Pandemic Times: Human Experiences and Responses

Humanities Center Seminar (HUMC 294)

Pandemic Times: Human Experiences and Responses is an interdisciplinary Humanities Center seminar course in which we discuss pandemics from exceptionally diverse academic approaches. 

Though the events of 2020 are unprecedented in our lifetimes, over the course of human history, contagion, plagues and pandemics have impacted humanity in ways that have profoundly changed the shape of societies and contributed to scholarly and academic inquiry and knowledge. The University of San Diego, as a liberal arts institution and Changemaker campus, is deeply invested in learning and knowledge in order to confront humanity's urgent challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenge of the pandemic transcends isolated disciplines and invites us all to work interdisciplinarily and critically reflect from many perspectives.
Sculpture of a man sitting on a park bench and wearing a blue mask that covers his nose, mouth and chin

Week 1: Pandemic Critical Literacy

Class Discussion

What’s a pandemic and how do we begin to understand its multifaceted and comprehensive impacts? View class discussion.

Speakers

  • Arietta Fleming-Davies, PhD | Department of Biology
  • Daniel Sheehan, PhD | Department of Physics and Biophysics
  • Alyson Ma, PhD | School of Business: Economics
  • Andy Tirrell, PhD, JD | Department of Political Science and International Relations
  • Channon Miller, PhD | Department of History

Week 2: Human Responses

Class Discussion

How do humans behave and respond to times of crisis and shock? View class discussion.

Speakers

  • Mary Barger, PhD, MPH, CNM, RN | Hanh School of Nursing and Health Science
  • Casey B. K. Dominguez, PhD | Department of Political Science and International Relations
  • Justine Rapp Farrell, PhD | School of Business: Marketing
  • Rebekah Wanic, PhD | Department of Psychological Sciences

Week 3: Morality and Mortality

Class Discussion

How have humans morally, ethically and artistically grappled with the increased awareness of mortality during pandemics--especially as our current age often obscures death from our daily lives? View class discussion.

Speakers

  • Brittany Asaro, PhD | Department of Languages, Cultures and Literatures: Italian           
  • Terry Bird, PhD | Department of Biology         
  • Jamall Calloway, PhD | Department of Theology and Religious Studies           
  • Mike Kelly, PhD | Department of Philosophy
  • Readings

Week 4: Social Justice and Care

Class Discussion

How does the pandemic call us to consider how we protect the sick and vulnerable during a collective challenge? View class discussion. 

Speakers

  • Corey Barnes, PhD | Department of Philosophy
  • Eileen Fry-Bowers, PhD, JD, RN, CPNP-PC | Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science
  • Valerie Hohman, PhD | Department of Biology
  • David Shirk, PhD | Department of Political Science and International Relations

Week 5: Dystopian Contagion Innovation

Class Discussion

How do pandemic times bring to light the interconnected nature and collective responsibilities of global citizenship? View class discussion.

Speakers

  • Amanda Petersen, PhD | Department of Languages, Cultures and Literatures: Spanish
  • Kate DeConinck, PhD | Department of Theology and Religious Studies
  • Vidya Nadkarni, PhD | Department of Political Science and International Relations
  • Caroline Baillie, PhD | Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering